We’ve got Sarah Beth Durst with us today, author of several books we love. I’m currently enjoying her new book, Conjured, which will be released next week. Sarah’s got a fundamentally important question for you. 

Sarah Beth Durst

So here’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately… Why do people read?

I have my big-picture generic answer, of course: we read because we need stories as desperately as we need air, food, and water. Stories are how we process, cope with, and/or escape from the world. Whether they’re told by friends, inside books, on TV, or whatever, they’re how we connect with other people, understand our past, and prepare for the future.

Plus, they’re awesome.

But on an individual level… Why do people read?

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsI think that the reason differs from person to person, and that it can be different for the same person at different points in his/her life… or even on different days of the week. I also think that the reason shapes a person’s experience of and opinion of a book as profoundly as the actual words on the page do.

For me, I read for magic. I read to be swept away on a journey, to experience an adventure, and to have that marvelous experience of closing a book and feeling as if the world is suddenly bigger and more wonderful than it was before. And the books that I love the most reflect that: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, Deep Wizardry by Diane Duane, Jack the Giant Killer by Charles de Lint, etc.

Not-so-incidentally, that’s also why I write. I write to try to create magic, to cast a spell that will transport a total stranger to the cold halls of the Paranormal Witness Protection Agency and into the tattered red tent of a creepy carnival (Conjured) or to a dry desert land filled with wolves made of sand and sky serpents made of glass and gods who walk in human bodies (Vessel) or wherever my imagination takes me. I read and write to take that kind of magical journey.

So that’s my question for you today: Why do you read?


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.